OPEN SPACE MEETING ON OIL AND GAS
Guyana’s petroleum sector is rapidly progressing with first oil in December 2019 towards an estimated 120,000 gross barrels per day. Hence, in the first decade, assuming that oil price remains stable at US $50 per barrel, GDP could reach the US $ 1 billion. Therefore, Guyana will be in a financial position to truly transform its economy and the quality of life of all Guyanese.
Due to this, both government and international agencies have attempted to engage persons in discussions on future oil and gas revenues. Unfortunately, those sessions have targeted mainly technical persons, even though Guyana’s natural resources belong to all Guyanese. The grassroots need to include grass-root Guyanese from all across Guyana. That is why PFG chose to address this apparent gap by exploring the Open Space method to engage local residents. This method is a technique for running meetings where the participants create and manage the agenda themselves. Sessions can be for five to 2000 plus people (providing you have a big enough venue). PFG has adapted this method to the Guyanese context to ensure it is ideal for participants to gain ownership of an issue and come up with solutions. Participants agree on the areas of discussion that have importance for them and then take responsibility for facilitating the sessions. This allows all present to participate fully in the discussions.
By partnering with another civil society organisation, Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI), Policy Forum Guyana was able to expand its operational space and strengthen the impacts of its initiatives. This is seen on June 8, 2019, at Marian Academy Auditorium when PFG and TIGI had in attendance 82 persons from the administrative region 4 at the second oil and gas discussion. This event had four times more persons than PFG’s first Georgetown Open Space in 2018. Another benefit of this partnership is that PFG was able to conduct an open space meeting for the first time on Oil and Gas for the residents of Pomeroon Supenaam on July 26 at Anna Regina Technical Institute. At this event over 90 Essequibians had the opportunity to learn about the oil sector and share their opinions on how future oil and gas revenue should be used to develop their region.